Disneyland Park, originally Disneyland, is the first of two theme parks built at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, opened on July 17, 1955. It is the only theme park designed and built under the direct supervision of Walt Disney. It was originally the only attraction on the property; its name was changed to Disneyland Park to distinguish it from the expanding complex in the 1990s.
Walt Disney came up with the concept of Disneyland after visiting various amusement parks with his daughters in the 1930s and 1940s. He initially envisioned building a tourist attraction adjacent to his studios in Burbank to entertain fans who wished to visit; however, he soon realized that the proposed site was too small. After hiring a consultant to help him determine an appropriate site for his project, Walt bought a 160-acre (65 ha) site near Anaheim in 1953. Construction began in 1954 and the park was unveiled during a special televised press event on the ABC Television Network on July 17, 1955.
Since its opening, Disneyland has undergone a number of expansions and renovations, including the addition of New Orleans Square in 1966, Bear Country (now Critter Country) in 1972, and Mickey’s Toontown in 1993. Disney California Adventure Park was built on the site of Disneyland’s original parking lot and opened in 2001.
Disneyland has a larger cumulative attendance than any other theme park in the world, with over 650 million guests since it opened. In 2011, the park hosted approximately 16.14 million guests, making it the second most visited park in the world that calendar year. According to a March 2005 report from the Disney Company, there are 65,700 jobs supported by the Disneyland Resort, which includes, at the Resort itself, 20,000 direct Disney employees and 3,800 third-party employees (that is, independent contractors or their employees).To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future.
Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.
Walter E. Disney, July 17, 1955